Cooking and teaching have a lot in common. Both require skills and training, and both involve recipes for success. During TEFL class we sometimes refer to the course book as a sort of recipe book as well, meaning it is the starting point of your lesson but not necessarily a book to follow to the letter. Beginning teachers (and cooks) probably need the book as a strong guideline when they start teaching (cooking), but later on they might want to add some of their own ideas and activities, spicing up their lesson, so to speak. And sometimes a teacher may decide to skip an exercise because of lack of time, just like a cook will leave out an ingredient he has forgotten to buy or simple does not like. What is more, just like a menu, your lesson always has a clear starter, a main (part) and a dessert, right?
Now how does technology come in to the comparison here? I was definitely thinking of technology this week when I started using my brand new kitchen! There is quite a bit of change (key word this week in TELL class!) involved in using our new kitchen appliances. We could not change the programme of the dish washer to a shorter programme just like that, for instance. Why does a dishwasher need so many options? It took us some trial and error and consulting the manual to work it out. In the end we could only choose a different programme after the first wash-up. Changing from gas cooking to induction cooking requires some more change, so we studied the manual to figure out which pans would be suitable and we had to familiarise ourselves with the control panel. I realised cooking with technology requires some serious study J!
Compared to teaching with technology, both teaching and cooking clearly need planning and preparing. Before you are ready to teach, you need to know how to use the materials and tools that are available. And if technology fails, you need to be creative and flexible to still be able to teach/cook. However, the fact that my new ovens can be operated by a child (really! – if they can reach them, that is) means that good tools should work intuitively and easily. The same goes for digital teaching tools – if they are not easy to use and require too much study, teachers will not use them. Mind you, this does not automatically mean you should use any digital teaching tool that works quick and easy! You should be aware of TPACK and the necessary added value by now. A wise pedagogue chooses his tools wisely, just like a cook should not bite (cut) off more than he can chew.